Canadian world pole vault champion Shawnacy Barber dies at age 29

Shawnacy Barber (Erik van Leeuwen, Wikimedia Commons)

According to the Canadian Press on Thursday, Shawnacy Barber of Toronto, Ontario died of an illness at the age of 29 on Wednesday. Barber won the gold medal in the men’s pole vault at the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China. He is considered Canada’s best pole vaulter of all-time.

Barber had a jump of 5.9 metres. He was tied with Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany for the best jump in the event. However Barber struck gold due to the fact he was clean in his first attempt at 5.8 and 5.9 metres, while Holzdeppe needed two attempts to clear 5.8 metres, and three attempts to clear 5.9 metres. Barber reached the World Championship podium by a tenth of a metre. Pawel Wojceichowski of Poland won the bronze medal with 5.8 metres, and Renaud Lavillenie of France finished in fourth place with 5.8 metres.

Also in 2015, Barber set the Canadian record in the men’s pole vault with a jump of 5.93 metres. He finished second at the IAAF Diamond League London Grand Prix behind only Lavillenie, who had a winning pole vault of 6.03 metres.

In addition to winning his gold medal at the World Championship level, Barber won a gold medal in the men’s pole vault at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. He also won silver medals at the 2013 Francophone Games in Nice, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, and a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

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